[Breendonk? Amicale des Postiers Prisonniers Politiques Rescapés], 1945. Original broadside pictorial diploma (24.5x32cm.) printed lithograph on cream stock in red, gilt, and black, accomplished in manuscript and rubberstamp. Minor foxing else a fresh, Fine example.
Exceedingly uncommon diploma awarded to a survivor of the Nazi prison camp at Fort Breendonk outside Antwerp. The camp generally held political prisoners, members of the Resistance, and Jews, who were almost all subsequently dispersed to the larger concentration camp across Eastern Europe. More than 3,000 prisoners passed through Breendonk, of whom approximately ten percent died or were executed within its walls, while half perished following deportation to other camps. The present certificate awarded to a member of the French resistance, a mechanic outside Saumur in the Maine-et-Loire department of Western France, his arrest part of a massive purge following the assassination of a Dr. Ritter, representative of Gauleiter Sauckel in France (see Colonel Remy, "La Résistance en Anjou, Touraine et Orléanais" (1975), Vol. 1, p. 103). The entire town of Saumur was later awarded the Croix de Guerre for its role in the resistance.
Certificate margins adorned with poignant vignettes of camp life, men in striped uniforms awaiting execution, working in the mines, or caught in barbed wire fence. In the case of Huberdeau (his first name here spelled "Villiam"), he was awarded this diploma for "sa déportation dans le bagnes nazis" ("his deportation to the nazi camps"). Though no mention is explicitly made to Breendonk, it appears that the award was given to survivors of that camp specifically. We find no other examples in the trade, auction records, of separately catalogued in OCLC as of February, 2020.